The Pigeon Lake mission was established during
a tense time of periodic food shortages and an increasing number of
arriving missionaries, traders and explorers and mounting hostilities.
John McDougall was given the task of reopening the Pigeon Lake
Mission. The re-established mission, renamed Woodville, became a meeting
place for the Nakoda and, to lesser extent, the Cree in the region.
By 1869 the mission was taken over by Peter Campbell, who revealed in a report of 1870
his concerns about the hostilities between the local Blackfoot and the
The country at present is in a very disturbed
state, the different tribes are at war. The Blackfeet, with an insatiable
thirst for blood, are on the track of the Stoney, and it is quite possible
they will visit the Mission in search of our people . . . Now there is no
safety for the traveler, and he who journeys alone runs a great risk of
losing his scalp . . . I have tried to visit Edmonton regularly during the
winter; twice I walked it alone. It is 50 miles from here.
In 1870 hostilities between the Blackfoot and the Nakoda people had
once again erupted. Although the situation was tense and Campbell was
nervous, the mission continued to operate.
Dominion Land Survey, Part 1: Political Context
1874 the Pigeon Lake Mission declined. While a few missionaries attended
to the neglected site, until the arrival of John Nelson in 1882, the
mission was generally ignored. Although Nelson remained at Woodville for
10 years, the mission proceeded to decline and was eventually moved Wolf
Creek in 1884. Misfortune continued and in 1886 a measles epidemic
claimed a full third of the community and half of the school children. By
this time the original Pigeon Lake Mission site had been fully abandoned.
Robert Rundle »
Thomas Woolsey »
John McDougall »
Henry Steinhauer »
Peter Erasmus »
Hutchinson, Gerald. The Meeting Place:
Rundle's Mission at Pigeon Lake, Alberta. Edmonton: Rundle's Mission
Conference Centre Inc., 1990.